> I will be building a new home soon.
> I have been lurking for a while absorbing as much as my limited capacity
First, unless money is no object, you are going to have to expand
beyond a limited capacity. If you were able to find a contractor who
could integrate all your systems, it would be say, $75K - 150K for
this level of integration by an installer.
Quote:> I was hoping to get your input on how I can accomplish the following:
I have done ALL that you outlined here. It takes quite a bit of research
and trial & error here. I happen to have a fairly well integrated
home and am satisfied with it for now. I am biased toward my selection
of components & subsystems. There ARE others, some better than mine.
But these are what I have chosen and am fairly happy with them.
> I want complete control of:
> Phone system
Not sure how you "control" a phone system, you need to be more
Quote:> Security (including video)
I have an AMP HMS 1050, also called an HAI Aegis, or more
properly, a Home Systems Plus Aegis. It has two expansion
cabinets for way more zone inputs and relay outputs.
It integrates Security, lighting & device control, annunciation,
and complete programmability. It controls Security, HVAC, Lighting
Blinds, Sprinklers, door locks, and many other devices and X-10
devices. If you are starting with unfinished walls, please please
run a wire from each switch J box back to the central location
your wiring closet.) Even if you go X-10 for the first many years,
this forsight will have a HUGE payoff later.
The HMS/Aegis also has integration with your phone system so
that you can call in or pick up any phone in your home and
control virtually anything and check the status of many things.
HAI is also near releasing a product called Web-Link II that allows
you to control / check status of everything over the net with a
web browser. You will need a dedicated PC for this. It even
handles video streams so you can have security cameras.
Unfortunately they are MONTHS late on the product and there
have been few reviews on it, but it does hold promise "any-day-now."
One thing in your overall system design is to have subsystem
interaction and integration WITHOUT interdependance. In other
words, if your security system fails, your HVAC control should
still be able to turn the HVAC on or off.
Quote:> Audio (home theater)
> Video (home theater)
These two are going to be harder to fully integrate. There are
many IR storage and playback devices that can control devices,
but few of these integrate really well into the HMS / security
systems. Regardless of your choice, you will need to set some
minimal standards for how your AV components behave. Some devices
do not have a discrete ON and OFF IR command and only toggle.
AVOID these components like the plague. The work-arounds are
The higher end of the component line, like my Denon AVR-5800
have a serial interface for control by a sophisticated system.
You will encounter a couple names in your search: Crestron and
Phast. These are really * systems, but they make it almost
impossible for an end-user to administer them. They are VERY VERY
expensive, and can be integrated with many sub-systems, but you
lose subsystem independance in many cases. I mentioned previously
that this is an important design goal. They are the only systems
that have well-integrated LCD touch screens.
Applied Digital has some really cool products - The Leopard,
in particular that holds promise. But it is in its first
generation. It is priced very well. It is integrated with
X-10, user programability, IR and a slew of connectable
devices that make it a fantastic product for the HA enthusiast,
but it is NOT elegant like a Crestron. The LCD's are rather
ugly and only big, square buttons can be graphically placed
on the screen. I have one and it is usually reliable, albeit
slow in response. ADI has the MOST potential for LCD control
technologies in the future. They really "get it" in their
product offerings, support, and candor. I am waiting for
a next generation color LCD screen with faster response times.
Quote:> Heating and cooling
HAI does this well.
You can choose X-10 or something like AMP's ALC (wired) lighting.
If you can afford it, go with ALC or equivalent. One problem is that
noone has produced an X-10 switch that is universally functional and
ergonomically satisfying. They either are not reliable (like Switchlink),
or they are funky (like X-10's that fit in a standard switch slot),
or confusing and non-distinct, (like Leviton). ALL of them are SO BIG,
you need to specially hack metal paster rings to get two switches
side-by-side in a junction box. Why the HECK someone can't fix this
stupid switch problem is beyond me. They all try, but they all
FAILED, so far.
OK, Great. Several products available here. Avoid the cheaper
products like Drape Boss (out-of-business, but still being sold
by unscrupulous dealers) and Add-A-Motor (usually too weak to perform
consistently). I like Somfey (which I have and like, but they are
expensive). Makita makes some curtain rod motors, but these are
Quote:> $500 ea. They are reliable and zippy, however. There are some
horizontal blind tilt motors available... haven't tried them though.
A couple manufacturers have built-in raise&lower motors. You would
have to integrate them yourself into your HA system... Most have
dedicated IR remotes.
> I also would like:
> Control via microphones mounted in every room
Invest in the BEST automatic mic mixer avaoilable, if you have
ANY hope having a usable system. I have the Shure SCM 810 and
am very satisfied with it along with Crown PZM-11 microphones.
I have 5 rooms integrated and functioning quite well (when
I don't have a cold.)
I have used 2 products: HomeVoice and HAL2000. Forget Hal Pro or
whatever they call it this week. True vaporware. The NEXT version
of HAL, probably out this summer, holds some promise. Get a really
FAST PC however, with plenty of memory. Plan on occasional reboots.
Don't plan on running anything else on the PC, at this time.
I use Homevoice. It doesn't have nearly the features HAL does/will,
but it is a rock-solid product. It is a user-dependant voice
recognition system, and will have to be trained, unkile HAL,
but the reliability is surperb. It integrates perfectly with
the HAI & AMP systems AND produces IR commands for your
AV system. HAL suffers from less intergation with HAI and
Applied Digital products, but the upcoming release will
support the Leopard and its headless brother, the Ocelot.
One problem is that HAL is very defensive about their
products and this often hinders them from really solving
> Control via LCD touchscreens in most rooms (for home theater display,
> security cameras, pc software, etc)
> I would prefer something PC based
> I checked into HAL Pro and it seems like it is limited on the video
> (home theater) aspect.
> I would also like all my computers networked .
This is simple. Get a hub for as many outlets as you want and
get a Linksys BEFSR-41 router/firewall goodie.
> Am I dreaming? Is it possible?
> Any other ideas for a newbie?
Hope this helps and I hope it serves as my participation
in the comp.home.automation group for this week so SOMEONE
WILL ANSWER MY QUESTION on Xantech Dinky Link / LCD display
PS... If you are ever in the SF Bay Area, you can come by and
see all this integrated in my home. I had a guy come over from
Ireland one time!
ph: 408 527-2773 | |
800.250.4800 ext 72773 | |
Public Carrier IP BU ||| |||
GSR development group (12000) ..:|||||||:...:|||||||:..